Caring for a Stroke Patient

Caring for a Stroke PatientBy Rohit Agarwal

Stroke also referred to as ‘Cardiovascular Accident’, is a type of a medical condition involving brain function disturbance due to lack of blood flow to the brain. There can be a number of causes that lead to a stroke, like blockages and hemorrhages.

This is a high level medical emergency that can be fatal. There is a high risk of a stroke to people of old age, diabetic patients, people who take high cholesterol diet, consumption of alcohol and smoking. Stokes should be taken seriously as it is considered to be the second leading cause of death in the world.

When a person survives a stroke there is always a risk of further repercussions that might include a second stroke, decreased brain functions, temporary loss of dexterity and paralysis. Hence, special care should be given not only in the hospital but at home as well, so we discuss home care tips for stroke patients.

1.  Take Safety Measures Seriously

A stroke patient is not as agile as you are, and with the decreased brain functions is at the risk of more injury. If possible remove most doors inside your house; installing two-way swing doors can also be helpful. Ensure that the floor is even and non-slippery. Removing bathroom rugs, installing handrails and nailing down the carpets and rugs is a great idea. Make sure the floors are clutter free and clean so a patient can move freely inside the house. Use of lever handled doors is also a great idea, as round doorknobs can often spell trouble for a patient.

2.  Eliminate Alcohol And Smoking

Under no circumstances should a stroke patient be allowed any of these two things. Alcohol intake increases the cholesterol levels in the body and causes dehydration. It is not easily digested by the body and puts higher stress on a patient’s metabolism, which can decrease the flow of blood to the brain. Besides the negative effects alcohol has on brain functions, the effects of smoking are even worse. Nicotine can put severe stress on the brain and cause an increase in blood pressure. This can further lead to hemorrhaging and also affects a patients breathing, which reduces the flow of oxygen rich blood to the brain. So these two things are a big no.

3.  Regular Exercise Is A Must

Regular exercise will not only keep the body fit and nimble but will also increase the flow of blood to the brain. A patient can easy regain the loss of motor functions through regular exercise. A fit body is without a doubt at a much lower risk of a stroke and other diseases.

EDITOR: Getting enough Restorative Sleep may also help the brain recover, as implied in new research with mice. During deep sleep the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain increases dramatically, washing away harmful waste proteins that build up between brain cells during waking hours. What apparently causes this is that brain cells actually shrink during sleep, allowing more space between them for this fluid. (For more on this, see Aging and Brain Science, an article based on my interview with Dr. Metin Akay.)

4.  Ease Of Mobility

A stroke can cause temporary loss of various body functions including movement and dexterity. One should make sure that the patient can move freely in the house without any hindrance.  Most stroke patients are susceptible to falls that can injure them seriously. If possible, use a wheelchair to get the patient around the house or have them use a walker. This will not only reduce the risk of falling but also provide adequate freedom of movement to the patient.

5.  Help Getting Dressed

Loss of dexterity is a common problem with stroke patients so a caretaker should ensure that a patient wears clothes that can be easily removed and worn again. Velcro shoes or shoes without laces, strings or rings on zippers, jumpsuits with zippers, and t-shirts are great alternatives to a patient’s wardrobe that can easily be worn and removed by the patients themselves.

6.  Sense Of Humor

A stroke can cause various behavioral changes in a patient, along with the increased amounts of stress and high blood pressure. It is important for the caretaker to develop a sense of humor to keep the patient’s mood light and relaxed. Laughter increases blood flow to the brain and lowers blood pressure, which is important since High Blood pressure is the cause of stroke in 30-35% of all cases. Remember, happy patients make quicker recovery, and light humor provides them with a more relaxed environment.

7.  Regular Checkups And Therapy

Most cases involving a second stroke are caused by non-adherence to medical checkups and negligence of proper therapy. It is thus very important that a patient visits the physician at regular intervals and strictly following the medical guidelines provided by doctor. Taking medicines on time, and developing a sense of awareness towards a patient’s health is very important for fast and stable recovery. Stoke is a serious medical condition and should not be taken lightly as negligence in most cases can prove fatal.

8.  Learn About Strokes

There are a number of misconceptions relating to strokes which can often result in disastrous results. It is important for a caretaker to know as much as possible about stroke and its various effects on the patient. A good knowledge how of a particular disease can help the caretaker to provide better care for the patient. Stroke can cause a number of behavioral changes in a patient including sudden mood swings and unnatural reactions, so having up-front knowledge of that helps caretakers effectively cope with it.

Although Stroke is a serious medical condition, it can be effectively dealt with if one gets informed and follows basic advice. These Caring for a Stroke Patient tips are easy to follow and can be used as guidelines to counter all the effects of stroke and ensure a quick and excellent recovery.

About the Author:

Rohit Agarwal is a keen reader of medical related topics and is always on a lookout for new developments in the medical field. Currently the contributor for that provides home care services to patients of various diseases.

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